Mert Nezih Rifaioğlu, Neriman Şahin Güçhan



This research proposes that the property rights in the title deeds records in an urban setting merit investigation to decode the unknown urban grammar of the order of historic Islamic-Ottoman urban forms which have consisted invisible links between the creation of urban form and its inhabitants.


This consideration of how an urban form is created and regulated according to property rights is a subject that has to date not been investigated like in this way by analyzing the archive materials and records in the title deeds and cadastral plans in a specific urban form. Accordingly, the hypothesis of this inquiry is focused on defining the relationships between property rights and urban form, which will help to reveal the hidden and intimate norms-regulations of the context. This will also help in the making of an objective analysis through information gathered from primary legal written and graphical sources –title deeds and cadastral plans– for a subjective issue. This research, therefore, suggest that the property rights and its urban grammar are not only one of the important factors in the formation of urban form, but important aspects in understanding the dialectic relations between formation and persistence of urban form and features.


The research findings can be group into two headings: literature review and case-study research. The literature review findings focusing on the analogy which is firstly used and defined in this research as a philosophical tool to explain the rules and rights related to property, and their role in managing the process of growth and shaping the urban form under the main tangible and intangible aspects. The case study research findings relying on Antakya historic urban form under the influence of property rights and presenting original analysis relied on original archive documents and site surveys. Accordingly, it concentrates on evaluations for decoding the unknown historic urban grammar of Antakya and presents original findings of the research.

Research Limitations/Implications

The research uses historical interpretive and case-study research methodologies in the limitations and implications of urban form and conservation studies.

Practical Implications

Increased knowledge on the influence of property rights and its order on formation of historic urban forms. The case-study part of this research demonstrated that the property rights an important aspect for considering how inhabitants created an urban form.

Social Implications

This research helps to understand the intimate values of urban forms by an objective and reliable analysis. It also helps to define social and/or moral values of historical urban form.


This research firstly revealed the property rights that have major implications for understanding the formation and persistence of every single component of Antakya historic urban form. Therefore, it deserves greater consideration in urban studies such as urban morphology and conservation in order to make holistic assessments.


Property rights, urban morphology, urban conservation, interpretation, methodology, Antakya.

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